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Anthidium manicatum

Anthidium manicatum, common name European wool carder bee,[1] is a species of bee in the family Megachilidae, the leaf-cutter bees or mason bees.[2]

They get the name 'carder' from their behaviour of scraping hair from leaves[3] such as lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina). They carry this hair bundled beneath their bodies to be used as a nest lining.[4] Like other members of the tribe Anthidiini, these bees do not cut leaves or petals as is typical for megachilids.[5]


Detail of a male Anthidium manicatum

Anthidium manicatum is originally an Old World bee. It has a wingspan of approximately 20 millimetres (0.79 in), with a body length of about 11–13 mm (0.43–0.51 in) for females, and 14–17 mm (0.55–0.67 in) for males.[6] This bee is mostly black and yellow, with some orange fur. There are also some yellow markings present on the legs and sides of the abdomen.[4] The males are substantially larger than females.[1]


Anthidium manicatum is found in parts of Europe, Asia, North Africa, and North America. It has also recently been documented in the Canary Islands, and South American countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.[7][8] This species is now present in New Zealand.

This insect was accidentally introduced into the United States from Europe sometime prior to 1963, when it was discovered in New York State.[9] It has since spread from the northeastern U.S. and southeastern Canada across the United States to California, where it was first collected in 2007.[10]

In Europe, this species is normally found in gardens, fields, and meadows in the southern part of Wales and England, but is localized in other places within the United Kingdom,[4] where they can be seen from May to September.[4] It is the only species of Anthidium to be found in England.


They live in disturbed habitats, and nest in cavities in rotting wood, and walls.[1][4]


Anthidium manicatum asleep in a flower

Males are highly aggressive against other males of this species, as well as other visitors to the flowers in its territory.[1] They will also defend Anthidium manicatum females,[8] although they do harass them by holding them immobile and repeatedly attempting to mate.[2]

Females collect "down" from such plants as lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina). They scrape the hairs from the leaves and carry them back to their nests bundled beneath their bodies. There it is used as a lining for their nest cavities.[1][11] Both males and females hover near flowers similar to flies in the family Syrphidae.


Anthidium manicatum consumes the pollen from flowers of varying families. They are thus considered to be generalists. They visit garden flowers and weeds preferring blue flowers that have long throats[1] with Old World origins.[1]

Subspecies [1][edit]

  • Anthidium manicatum manicatum (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Anthidium manicatum barbarum Lepeletier, 1841
  • Anthidium manicatum gribodoi Schwarz and Gusenleitner, 2003

Synonyms [2][edit]

  • Apis manicata Linnaeus, 1758
  • Apis pervigil Harris, 1776
  • Apis maculata Fabricius, 1781
  • Apis fulvipes de Villers, 1789 (homonym)
  • Apis modesta Christ, 1791
  • Apis amoenita Christ, 1791
  • Apis uncata Schrank, 1802
  • Anthidium maculatum Latreille, 1806 (homonym)
  • Anthidium marginatum Latreille, 1809
  • Anthidium obtusatum Lepeletier, 1841
  • Anthidium productum Lepeletier, 1841
  • Anthidium manicatum var. nigrithorax Dalla Torre, 1877
  • Anthidium manicatum var. fasciatum Schirmer, 1915
  • Anthidium manicatum var. nasicolle Friese, 1917
  • Anthidium manicatum var. luteus Gribodo, 1924 (homonym)
  • Anthidium manicatum subcrenulata Alfken, 1930
  • Anthidium manicatum cyrenaica van der Zanden, 1992 (homonym)

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]


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